As 24-hour television, belching out the swaggering voices of American hellfire preachers, competes with dancehall, slackness and ganja for Jamaican minds, Clarice and Thalbot preach their own conflicting visions. Clarice has used her gifts to raise herself from the urban Jamaican ghetto. She basks in the adulation of her followers as they look to her for their personal salvation. Thalbot has fallen from comfort and security onto the streets. With his wild matted hair and nakedness, he is a deranged voice in the wilderness. Whilst Clarice has her blue-eyed Jesus, Thalbot brandishes his blackness in the face of every passer-by. Clarice's visions give her power; Thalbot is at the mercy of every wandering spirit. But when, under cover of darkness, Clarice 'sins' on the beach, Thalbot alone knows of her fall. He sets out to journey, like Jonah, to denounce the prophetess and warn the Ninevite city of its coming doom. An epic struggle begins...
'Prophets is a narrative poem of sheer power, contemporaneity, and hope; one that is full of beauty, sadness, wisdom, and true humanism.' - Sudeep Sen, World Literature Today.
Since its first publication in 1995, time has shown Prophets to be a major poem in the canon of Caribbean poetry – an epic made of Jamaican materials, written with all a young man’s daring and zest.
This revised 2018 edition has line numbers, and replaces the now out of print edition, ISBN 9780948833854
Check out Kwame Dawes' Prophets: A Reader's Guide by Jeremy Poynting
"A major work of Caribbean literature. Dawes’s poem takes on history, faith, sex, and poetry itself, in lyrical, sometimes contentious dialogue with the voices that have helped frame the poet’s sense of the world and his place in it. An exhilarating and expansive work of art.”
– Jonathan Galassi, President and Publisher of Farrar, Straus, Giroux.